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The Providence of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 26, 2021 12:01 am

The Providence of God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 26, 2021 12:01 am

We will not always understand why we are suffering. But God knows, and His people can always trust Him. Today, Derek Thomas turns to the book of Job to see how the sovereignty of God brings us present peace and eternal hope amid suffering.

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The book of Job, we read that Satan wants direct Job's life. You see there's a fundamental issue here that the one in charge of this test that it is a test is not Satan but God, it's about the sovereignty of God. It's about the omnipotence of God. It's about the holiness of God is about who use this book of Job is not really a book about Job. It's a book about God will bless everything is family wealth everything except his life that seem to be hanging by a thread. As he was struck by a dreadful disease.

Perhaps you've not suffered to the degree that Job did, but I know that there are so many of you listening right now. Experience painful loss today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Derek Thomas reminds us of the great truths found in Job story and effect throughout Scripture truth that is cause for holy reverence on and peace as we acknowledge God's working online.

I was a young minister daily months in coordination. A young couple in the church called and said what I come and visit. Went to see them there and there early 20s.

The first pregnancy and she says to me, my blunt the baby is Hanukkah Pollock which basically means it had little to no brain and would survive may be for two minutes and would die, not a pressure from the hospital to abort the fetus which they refused to do asked me to be present at the birth I was behind the screen and when the baby was born a step forward them. I'm in my mid-20s I been a minister for a few months and I watch this young girl die weeks later when I went to visit them in their home. She she said to me, I know you can't answer this question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Why and she says okay I don't I know you have gotten answer because I didn't. I had I had no answer. And at some it's Job amazing. Possibly the first book of the Old Testament to be written. Job is in the same year as Abraham long before Moses and this is the book God gives us a book about a man who is described in verse one of chapter 1 and urge you to have your Bibles open to Job chapter 1, we've got 42 chapters to get through. There was a man in the land of Oz, whose name was Job and that man was blameless and upright to one who feared God and turned away from evil.

And although in this instance. This is going to be repeated three times in the first two chapters of Job. Here are its puts in a manner where the author is telling you of Job's godly character, but later it will be God himself who will say these same words that he is blameless and upright, and feared God and turned away from evil was a godly man. This is not why do the wicked suffer.

That's easy. But why do the godly suffer. Why do those who are in a right relationship with God and walk in his ways, and fear his name. Why do these suffer.

That's the perennial issue of the problem of pain on the part of the answer to that issue is here before us in verse six, there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, from where have you come Satan answered in the Lord and said, from going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on that piece of vagabond he has nowhere to call home. So the question arises why did Satan, sin long before I don't and Eve sinned. There was sin in the universe. Satan had sinned the fall of the Angels. What could possibly have you heard a sinless creature like Satan delete the forbidden fruit. When that's a tough question about of the issue here of the problem of pain for sure is Satan. We live in a world and we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. John the apostle tells us that the reason the son of God appeared wise to destroy the works of the devil. Verse eight the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job, you know I always think you should. Why did God do this.

Perhaps Satan was certain completely oblivious to Job you considered my servant Job is none like him on the author blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil, and Satan answered the Lord and said, does Job fear God for no reason. And so the drama unfolds a test. The only reason Job is godly and fears God done, and I'm walks in his ways and is upright in his character is because God has sheltered him surrounded him with all the help necessary for him to walk that way, but take all of that away and you will see what Job is made of and so this devastating day arrives when evil day, and Job. Even though there are barriers of you not put a hedge around him at his house and all that he has on every side you have blessed the work of his hands in his possessions of increased in the land, stretch out your hand and touch all that he has and he will curse you to your face and the Lord said to Satan, behold, all that he has is in your hand only against him. Do not stretch out your hands so Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

You see there's a fundamental issue here that the one in charge of this test and it is a test is not Satan but God, it's about the sovereignty of God. It's about the omnipotence of God.

It's about the will of God's about the holiness of God is about who use this book of Job is not really a book about Job.

It's a book about God.

John Calvin in 1554 in February I began a series of 159 sermons on the book of Job. They would last until April 2015 55 that were preached during the week he went systematically from Job 112. The last verse of Job 42 in the very opening sermon in that cold February day of 1554 Calvin said it is a great thing to be subject to the majesty of God. He set the agenda for what would be 159 studies in the book of Job, and it's about the majesty, omnipotence, being of Almighty God this is Satan, and we can rightly blame Satan. Satan did this, but there's an even greater issue here God to did this he allowed this to happen. He set the agenda. He he issued all of the parameters in which Job will now lose all 10 of his children in one fell swoop to lose all 10 of your children to lose your your 401(k). There's a second testing chapter 2 this time God permits Satan to touch Job, and he loses his health and by midway through the book of Job. He is described as skin and bones and people save you have your health, you have everything some of your struggle with ill health.

Some of you struggle with it in your own personal lives and you struggled with it in the lives of your children or your your wife or husband or parents. And here is Job and what does he say at the end of chapter 1 naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave the Lord has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord you want to be able to say that Dr. when floor the ground opens up beneath you and you lose everything. Probably ALL your dreams all your aspirations send and they are gone a day that you never could've imagined and I'm sure you are and you want you want to be able to say what Job is saying here naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return the Lord gave on the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord in the second account in chapter 2, and he loses all of this health, his wife's sister in verse nine.

Do you still hold fast your integrity curse God and die. Calvin called her Diablos matrix. You don't need to know any Latin, then you don't have to study Latin like Dr. Ferguson to know that that's not a compliment.

Or maybe we can give her the benefit of the doubt. She doesn't want to see her has been suffering and maybe maybe she saying to Scott on it to be over quickly and he says to her you speak as one of the foolish women would speak the fool. In Psalm 14 says there is no God. You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.

Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil is a bold bold statement business. How can God dispense evil, how can he decree it lets our belief is nuts, but nothing happens without God willing at top and then without God willing it to happen before it happens and without God willing it to happen in the way that it happens all things work together for the good of those that love and Paul thinks the good the bad and the ugly vignettes reformed theologians have wanted to introduce her to somebody else to protect God from being the author of evil things happening on the car bodies second causes. Yes, God did it in the sense that he decreed it, but Satan did it in the sense that he is the one morally responsible for it and minds are now beginning to come apart.

Three friends come. Eliphaz send Bill dead-end. So far under the best thing that ever did in chapter 3, I was to say absolutely nothing for a week. That was the best thing that they did chapter 3 of Job is so it's like a lifeline because is the day that he was born. He sinks down and down and down and down and down, never ever experience that when you're in despair. You can't sense God's presence.

There is no sense of this love the arms that once you knew were wrapped around you seemed not to be there. Your prayers are filled with despair and anger, frustration, where is God in all of this as he sits on the shape as he scrapes the sash all over him, a sign of his imminent death.

These words are coated almost verbatim in Jeremiah 1920 by Jeremiah after he been put in the stocks and ridiculed's and all kinds of things had been thrown at him and then the next day he goes back I think to his homeland. He quotes from memory the words of Job. I'm glad these words I hear my being close to this. At one point in my life, but not quite to the despairing level of Job, chapter 3, but it's like it's like her when you're flying under the announcement will be made that somewhere and you see that it depends where you're sitting you're sitting in the back it's here visiting the middle it somewhere else and you sitting in first class it somewhere else and you think I need to know exactly where this thing is this this this life.

For some, the on the whistle is going to be vitally important. This this pain is going down at that 500 miles an hour into the ocean. I'm I need to know where that whistle is and I'm the little lights that's gonna light up in contact with water that's going to be absolutely vital.

I never once got down on my knees and searched exactly where it was, I minimize my sitting in the one chair that they forgot to put it in Job chapter 3 is like a life vest. I may need it. One day I wanted God we have that he would put this in the Bible for a day when despair overtakes you. And to be able to say you know you're not alone. Job was here.

Jeremiah was here Jesus was here. My God, but not my father but my God, my God, why have you forsaken me as though the consciousness of his native son ship had the and doomed him all together. So then we come to chapter 4 and they begin to speak and in chapter 4 we have. Eliphaz is probably the oldest of the three under in verses five and six and seven. You have the gist of what they say. But now I just come to you and your impatient it touches you in your dismayed is not your fear of God, your confidence in the integrity of your ways your hope. Remember who that was in the center of a perished the upright cutoff is counseling 101 right there. The reason why your suffering is because it's your fault though, let's think about that for a minute instincts retribution. I believe it if you're sleeping around and behaving like a dog and you get an STD. You can come up to me and say life isn't fair. Why should I suffer this way that's your fault.

There is such a thing as instant retribution. This says so in Galatians chapter 6, but that's not the case here is not the case here because God says so because he was an upright man was a godly man.

He was the God this man on the face of the planet. The reason for Job's suffering does not live in his own sinfulness balances in his opening sermon than 1554 in February that these friends. They only have one song when they sing at the death toll chapter after chapter. Lots of what they say is perfectly orthodox. They have an orthodox doctrine of God, Joseph Carl, the Puritan in London and accommodation the John Owen would like to ministering priests on the book of Job for 23 years.

You know your 18, 19, you're going along to church and he announces a series of sermons on Joe, you got married, have children, you go away somewhere and then 20 years later you come back and he's still in the book of Job, you have to admire that the published. You can purchase 12 volumes of all of the sermons on the book of Job. Much of what they say about God is perfectly orthodox, but their dead wrong in their analysis of why it is the Job suffered every now and then in the book of Job, Job cries out to chapter 9 and chapter 16 and then famously in chapter 19 of the passage that says I know that my Redeemer lives under he has this longing here on the passage I I know that my Redeemer lives in you probably think of Handel's Messiah and in the wonderful oratorio that he wrote in them momentarily semi-inspiration for sure, but you need to understand the point. Job says I know that my Redeemer lives. He's not saying I know that Jesus exists in the Z died for my sins and I'm justified by faith, and I need not fear the wrath of God.

No, that's not what he saying at all. Job is protesting his innocence. He wants an answer to the question why there was a young woman and variation that I was in in Belfast. Wonderful, wonderful woman. She gave birth to a daughter who had some serious medical issues tumors on her brain doctor said she wouldn't last very long. They were aware of it before the baby was born.

The moment she was born, the husband walked out and never returned. Never paid a dime and all money that was the sweetness of this mother who was completely devoted 24 seven to raising this child and she lived until she was over 40, I would visit her and her mother.

Mother lived with her daughter and her granddaughter. I would visit once every couple of months of I would go long. She knock on the door to zero coming coming lynching to the goals of Irish hospitality and there'd be cups of tea and biscuits with cookies every time she was asked this question since I know you don't know the answer to this but I just have to ask and when I lasted on I'm going be fine, but she will say to me why I would smile and I would say to her, you know I'm gonna say Dr. yes you said you go so you don't know and I said to I still don't know what his pain happened to me why my wrenched out of my place of comfort into a place of horrible abandonment where I feel as though God has completely left me why I deserve to know know you don't. It's not important that you understand is only important that he understands that you trust him even in the dark. Even in silence. The book of Job is about the genuineness of our faith.

When the ground is taken away from us. Do we trust him even in the most horrible of payment and the most horrible situation imaginable. Do we trust him that he has this study has the whole world in his hands, and that he has you in his hands. I love the book of Job, Celt the glass is half empty, you are by temperament, but I love the book of Job because it's a book about God putting Calvin say in the first sermon February 15 54 is a great thing to be subject to the majesty of God when encouraging message from your teaching fellow Dr. Derek Thomas all week. We have been featuring selected messages for Mark 2021 Liggett International conference.

Our theme this year was right now counts forever, and today we learned that right now is firmly in God's control, and therefore truly does count forever.

Dr. Thomas wrote an article for this month's table talk magazine and entity says this to a mother who loses her first child, a sister who learns of a malignant tumor college graduate who feels his first job interview and two people and a thousand other scenarios. God's providence serves as a reminder that while we may not have all the answers. God does the August edition of table talk has many helpful articles all on the theme right now counts forever. We like to send you this edition and when you contact us today with a donation of any amount we will put it in the mail right away and we will continue a subscription to table talk for the coming year. You can find us online to make your request and Renewing Your or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 only think about the fact that right now counts forever. There are so many aspects of the Christian life that come to mind considered some of them this week our work.

For example, the church tomorrow or focuses on the great commission isn't surprising that when Jesus says go make disciples.

He sums it up, disciple making into very brief points.

If somebody said what would it take to make a disciple of Jesus Christ.

How long would you go on for how many points would you have Jesus only has to Dr. Robert Godfrey will examine both points for us in a message titled go there for mess tomorrow. Here on Renewing Your Mind

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